1998 – 09 Sept Newsletter – GRF

Sections in this issue:

1) Don Lee Gowen Seeks Forebears In 2,000-Mile Scottish Trek;
2) Levi Gowen Pensioned at Age 90 For SC Revolutionary Service;
3) George E. Gowen Honored As Early Tennessee Genealogist;
4) Dear Cousins.

All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters:   https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/

Volume 10, No. 1, September 1998

1)  Don Lee Gowen Seeks Forebears In 2,000-Mile Scottish Trek

By Don Lee Gowen
Editorial Boardmember
1310 Cantwell Avenue SW, Decatur, AL, 35601

We are just back from two weeks in the old country–Scotland. We drove 2,028 miles, all on the “wrong side of the road” and had battles with the “roundabouts,” but not a scratch. The weather was excellent, and the country was beautiful.


As we have all seen, there are numerous spellings and phonic variations to the name Gowen, some at the hand of men, be it within the family, at the hand of the census taker, town clerk, or the tax collector. In early times, names given to man had a lot more to do with profession and or the location wherein he dwelled. While I can offer no direct connection between the families with which I am familiar in the United States, I am sure that many branches of the family had blood connections to men of the old country–Scotland.

There too, are found many phonic variations to the name. To put the early usage in perspective, we need to remember that some these variations began as early as the year 43 when the site of London was established by the Roman Emperor Claudius as Londinium and the year 200 when London was a walled city with a flourishing trade and a population of 45,000 to 50,000. Not only was the North Country populated by early movement of the Irish into the Western Isles, but also by the Norse from the eastern isles and mainland and the movement north from the early Roman settlements of England.

From my research in Scotland, I believe many of the origins of some of our ancestors were from the area generally in a line from the old city of Edinburg, more particularly around Ster-ling, Linlithgow, and the Glasgow area. “Gow” means “a smith” or is perhaps a shortening of Mac gobhann or Mac a’ ghobhainn, “son of the smith”. The smith was a man of im-portance in most of the clans, so that name has no particular connection with any one clan, however most reference is to the MacDonald Clan of Skye or the MacPherson clans.

The Gows are usually included in Clan Chattan though there are many of the name in Perthshire, and eleven of the name appear in the “Commissariot Record of Dunblane” in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. George Gow and Henry Gow were burgesses of Dysart in 1580, and Michael and Robert Gow were among the followers of Stewart of Kinaird in a raid in 1595.

Gowan is usually the genitive form of gobha, “a smith”, but is often the same as the nominative and made Gowan. Some of the name may be from Govan as Gowan was a common six-teenth century spelling of the place name, with the v and w interchanged. Colin Gowin of Kenvay was a denounced rebel in 1675. There are numerous references to the Gowen/Gowans, etc. who have served the kings and queens, and fought for Scotland in the War Memorial at Edinburg Castle. One can stand on the ramparts of Sterling Castle and look to the Northeast and view Gowan Hill, named for the followers of the Queen in that time and place. Govan is of ter-ritorial origin from the old lands of Govan in Lanarkshire. Christian, widow of Symon de Govane held lands in Govan in 1293.

In Peeblesshire a family of the name flourished for centuries. Sir John de Gowen was rector of the church of Maxtoun in 1326 and William Govan was cannon of Glasgow. From sev-eral notices in old records, it is evident that the Govans of Pee-blesshire were a family of some importance in the fourteenth century. They retained possession of Cardrona, their ancestral estate until 1685.

Gowanlock is another variation of local origin from the Rox-burgshire or Selkrikshire areas. It is an old surname and place name in Ayshire. Robert Govanlock was a tenement landlord in the Lawnmarket of Edinburg housing 300 people in 1837. Other variations include MacGow and MacGowan, being men of importance as the maker of arms and armor, and as this trade descended from father to son, its designation soon be-came a surname.

MacGowan is the name of an old Sterling family. In the reign of David, there was a clan M’Gowan located on the river Nith whose chieftain was adjudged to be Donald Edzear. The name here may indicate descent from Owen the Bald, king of the Strathclyde Britons, who was killed in 1018. It should be noted there are others of the name who were charged with murder, rapine and other crimes. Murchie McGowy was “put to the horn” in Fanmoir, Mull in 1629.

For those that have interest, there is wealth of genealogical material to be had in Edinburg, Glasgow and at the Clan Don-ald Center at Armadale on the Isle of Skye. There are 128 Gowen listings in the 1998 telephone directory of Edinburg and only ONE in Glasgow. Edinburg is my kind of city, and I can stand and visualize Mary Queen of Scots riding to Holy-rood Palace or attending St Michael’s Parish Church in Lin-lithgow.

Our ancestors could have hammered armor on the plains of Sterling and fought to the death for their king. The people of Scotland are gracious, and the beauty of the land is beyond comparison, especially in the Highlands and the Western Isles.

I just know I have roots there, and I invite each of you to make the journey to Scotland as I do year after year.

Continued from August . . .

2)  Levi Gowen Pensioned at Age 90 For SC Revolutionary Service

Levi Gowen, Mulatto/Melungeon son of Daniel Gowen and Rebecca Gowen, was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina in June 1762. He is identified as the grandson of Alexander Gowen of Stafford County, Virginia and Orange and Rutherford Counties, North Carolina and the great-grandson of William Gowen and Catherine Gowen of Stafford County.

When his father died as a soldier in the South Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War, Levi Gowen signed up, perhaps to avenge his father’s death. “Levi Goines” enlisted “about the time of the fall of Charleston” [May 12, 1780] at age 17 from Fairfield County “where he lived” as a Revolutionary soldier in the South Carolina line, according to his pension application. His pension papers continue:

“I further certify that John C. Jackson, William Barret and Donald Street whose names appear to the annexed certificates of Duncan Murchison, D. M. B. McIntosh and W. D. David were at the time of signing the same acting Justices of the Peace in an for the county afore-said, duly commissioned and qualified according to law and that their signatures to the same are genuine.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto affixed my Seal of Office and subscribed my name the 6th day of Au-gust AD1852.

Alexander C. Curry, Clerk
Moore County Court”

The pension application of Levi Gowen and accompanying af-fidavits were mailed to Hon. W. Dockery, House of Represen-tatives with the request that his pension check be mailed to Dockery’s Store, N. C.

After a year had passed, W. C. Thaghard wrote a letter on the behalf of the application of Levi Gowen:

“Carthage, N.C, April 8, 1853
Dear Sir,

Some months since I presented through Gen. Dockery to the Department the declaration of Levi Goines, a Soldier in the War of the Revolution, asking to be al-lowed a pension for his services in said war. I stated in my letter that the advanced age and feeble health of the old Veteran present Strong claims to the Department for an early investigation. I have waited with great pa-tience, and as yet the Department has not seen fit to ad-dress me on the subject.

If there is any informality in the declaration or any lack of testimony that prevents the claim being allowed, will the Department please to inform me or if it has not yet been investigated or has been allowed and no information given, I ask respectfully to be informed thereof.

Very respectfully,
W. C. Thagard”

Levi Gowen received Pension No. R3865 approved August 4, 1852. It is unknown how long Levi Gowen and his wife re-ceived the pension. Of Levi Gowen and descendants nothing more is known.

Mention of the “Goings families” in Moore County appeared in “Ancient Records of Moore County, North Carolina:”

“By strange coincidence, there were two Goings fami-lies in Moore County in 1790, one being white; the other listed under the heading of “all other free persons,” that is free negro, mulatto or Indian. Both fami-lies were headed by William Goings. One William, of course the white one, was later made a justice of the peace for the county. Within the writer’s recollection, some of those families held themselves above associa-tion with negroes, and their white neighbors accepted them as several notches above their black brethren.

An examination of the 1850 census will show the in-crease in this clan, all of whom are there listed as mu-latto. Briefly, the Goings were classed exactly as were the so-called “Lumbee” Indians of Robeson County. In later years, certain of these families intermarried with negroes, and their descendants now living in Moore County are as black as the pot. Others, however, have maintained the complexion and characteristics of their more ancient ancestors. The free family lived on or about Pocket Creek, in Lee County [organized from Moore County and Chatham County in 1907] or be-tween there and Lemon Springs.

The writer’s father once pointed out to him their lo-cation and casually remarked, ‘they were not negroes, but probably Indians.’

What became of the white fam-ily of Williams Goings, the writer has been unable to determine. A few years ago, a writer in the “Saturday Evening Post” wrote a story on the ‘Melungeons’ [maybe from the French ‘melange,’ a mixture] who had a colony on the Clinch River in North Central Ten-nessee, and among whose members were Goings.”


3)  George E. Gowen Honored As Early Tennessee Genealogist

George Emmett Gowen, son of William Price Gowen and Sidney Floyd Gowen, was born in May 1868 in Bedford County, Tennessee, according to the 1880 census return of his father’s household. He was married about 1892 to Margaret “Maggie” Holt and became a minister for the First Christian Church. For a time he preached in Nashville, Tennessee.

He became the first genealogist in his branch of the family. Little is known of the life of George Emmett Gowen, but he had the foresight to interview the surviving pioneers of the family at every opportunity and to record their statements when no one else took the initiative. He maintained a journal in which he recorded the events of the life of his grandfather, James B. Gowen and his contemporaries. He included, as well, accounts of their descendants.

The journal, which present-day researchers have freely drawn upon, is included in the Foundation Manuscript. It is included because it is important. In some cases, it is the only scrap of evidence that certain of our forebears ever existed. As long as this world shall turn and one descendant shall remain, he will be indebted to George Emmett Gowen.

In the summer of 1904, George Emmett Gowen interviewed William Floyd, then in his 84th year. William Floyd was an older son-in-law of James Burns Gowen and was able to give an account of the life of the old pioneer. Additionally he iden-tified the 18 Gowen children and gave a report on the life of each child and his descendants.

George Emmett Gowen died in 1931 after providing copies of his journal to every interested member of the family who wanted one. Children born to George Emmett Gowen and Margaret “Maggie” Holt Gowen are unknown.

4)  Dear Cousins

I have finally entered the 21st Century. We’re getting E-mail a little late here in Mexico, but my new address is shown below. I opened the largest furniture and interior design busi-ness in Chapala-Ajijic on July 1. It is called The Southern Touch. I have enjoyed Cleve Weathers’ Newsletter articles. I believe that my John Goin came from the same South Carolina roots. Sandra M. Loridans, Apartado Postal 844, 45900 Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico, SoTouch@Laguna.com.mx

==Dear Cousins==

I am trying to trace my Goins line back to the time of the Confederate States and earlier. My g-g-f was Thomas Joshua Goins, b1869 in TX, d1917 in Dallas, TX. He was married to Eugenia Atkinson, b1877 in LA, d1916 in Manning, TX. I believe they were in Bell County, TX in 1900. Their children:

Clyde, Barney, Thomas J. Gertrude, Lois and Admiral Dewey Goins, my gf.

I believe the parents of Thomas Joshua Goins were Thomas J. Goins and Rachel Matilda Cox Goins. According to cs1910, she was born in 1847 in AR. Thomas J. Goins was born in TN or AR. Any information on this line would be greatly appreciated. Raymond Ryan, Rt. 2, Box 139, Diboll, TX, 75941, ckennethryan@juno.com.

==Dear Cousins==

Who was Craddock Goins living in Jackson, Mississippi around 1942? James Street of Jones County, Mississippi, author of the 1951 historical novel “Tap Roots” lists him as an assistant researcher. “Taps Roots” is based on the author’s historical views of one dominant family and the social and po-litical views of events surrounding slavery in Jones County, just prior to and during the civil war–connecting to the State of Lebanon. The forward, written in 1942, credits Mr. Goins’ work. Are any of his descendants out there somewhere?

Also, Street refers to black Moors who came to the Gulf area. In his book he has a fictitious character of Moorish and Cajan mix heritage. Several years ago a researcher from Mis-sissippi told me of a group of people who, at one time were sometimes described like Melungeons and Black Dutch who were living across the western Alabama state line not far from her. Separate from whites and blacks, they were called Cajan [not Cajun].

The author states in the forward, “This book, as was its predecessor, “Oh, Promised Land,” is based on a bit of American history that possibly is not generally known.” Putting the romance and family dramas aside, I believe the author and his helper Craddock Goins knew more about hu-man nature and historical events than we have been led to be-lieve by some established authorities. In any event, let’s add Craddock Goins name to the Gowens list. Perhaps I have shared another possible clue to the mystery of nationalities of early peoples in America not previously recognized. Evelyn McKinley Orr, 8310 Emmet St, Omaha, NE, 68134-4940, jorre@juno.com.


NOTE:  The above information produced by the Gowen Research Foundation (GRF), and parts of the “Gowen Manuscript” they worked on producing.  It has tons of information – much of it is correct, but be careful, some of it is not correct – so check their sources and logic.  I’ve copied some of their information in the past researching my own family, only to find out there were some clear mistakes.   So be sure to check the information to verify if it is right before citing the source and believing the person who researched it before was 100% correct.  Most of the information I found there seems to be correct, but some is not.

Their website is:  Internet: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gowenrf

There does not seem to be anyone “manning the ship” at the Gowen Research Foundation, or Gowen Manuscript site any longer, and there is no way to contact anyone about any errors.   The pages themselves don’t have a mechanism to leave a note for others to see any “new information” that you may have that shows when you find info that shows something is wrong, or when something has been verified.

Feel free to leave messages about any new information found, or errors in these pages, or information that has been verified that those who wrote these pages may not have known about.

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